Every year, dozens of Binghamton children look forward to the I’m a Complex Kid! (ICK!) fair, hosted annually by the Binghamton University Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES).
While typically in person, this year the ICK! fair was held over Zoom on April 24. According to BMES’s website, ICK! is one of their largest events and it serves as an opportunity for community outreach. The event is geared toward children — specifically, those in kindergarten through fifth grade can participate.
ICK! acts as an interactive fair where participating children can learn more about science and be exposed to different elements of a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. BMES volunteers organize and run the event. This year, the event consisted of six different educational stations where participants could filter through and learn about each presented topic in different breakout rooms.
Christina Capobianco, BMES community outreach coordinator and a senior majoring in biomedical engineering, discussed the organization’s goals.
“We really hope to stimulate the kids’ interest in science and encourage them to ask questions about the world around them and develop a better understanding of some of these phenomena,” Capobianco wrote in an email. “Through the ICK! event this year, they’ll be learning about static electricity, their DNA, respiratory and skeletal systems and chemical reactions! Although this will be a quick introduction to these topics, we hope that it stimulates their interest to learn more.”
Despite the completely online format, students were still able to participate hands-on because the BMES provided participants with both instructions and materials for each station so that participants could complete the experiments at home. The BMES also asked participants’ parents to be closely involved to help and monitor their children and ensure that the event ran smoothly despite its unique format.
Melanie Lyons, president of the BMES and a senior majoring in biomedical engineering, detailed how ICK! differs from their other events.
“Our fair is unique because we have some experiments that are general science and some that are [biomedical engineering] model, edible DNA and a lung model,” Lyons wrote in an email. “I hope ICK! reaches kids around our local area and provides them with a day of science fun to retreat to and, hopefully, show them that science is something to enjoy and be passionate about and just how cool STEM-related activities and careers can be!”
BMES is open to any BU student, regardless of major. Members are required to attend three events and have the option of joining the national Biomedical Engineering Society. Joining the national society grants members access to career resources, networking events and certain publications. Lyons said she found that BMES has provided her with great opportunities, as it has fostered her love of service and leadership.
Ross Lauterbach, an undeclared freshman, expressed interest in BMES and the ICK! fair.
“I did not know that [BU] had a club like that,” Lauterbach said. “When I have more time, I would look into joining it. The ICK! fair seems like a good idea that I might volunteer for when it is in person.”